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Whisky in Forres and Moray: Gordon & Macphail records sales drop

By Alistair Whitfield

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Gordon & MacPhail has today announced an 18 per cent fall in sales – but the company still made pre-tax profits of nearly £10million.

The firm, which has its HQ in Elgin and is owned by the Urquhart family, put the drop in sales down to "a range of global and domestic headwinds".

These include Brexit uncertainty, the introduction of tariffs by the USA on single malt Scotch whisky and a competitive UK market.

The figures relate to the period from February 2019 to February this year.

Although still in its infancy, Covid-19 also had an impact on sales, particularly in Asia during the final three months.

In July of this year work began on the Cairn, the company’s second distillery, which is near Grantown and overlooks the River Spey.

To help finance the new distillery, Gordon & MacPhail completed a £7million bulk sale of mature whisky to build up reserves.

Managing director Ewen Mackintosh said: "Despite challenging conditions we remain confident in our ability to grow and are building for the future.

"Across the year we’ve invested in Gordon & MacPhail, including our brands, infrastructure and colleagues, as part of our commitment to the continued growth of what is now a fourth-generation family business.

Ewen Mackintosh
Ewen Mackintosh

"We’ve navigated challenging global conditions, including the initial impact of Covid-19, particularly in the Asian markets.

"We’re excited to see our plans come together, not least with the development of The Cairn as we build a distillery and brand that complements our existing distillery, Benromach.

"We look forward to sharing our plans with whisky enthusiasts across the world in due course.

"I’d like to thank our colleagues, suppliers and customers for their support, dedication and hard work this year in a time of such change."

Benromach distillery in Forres
Benromach distillery in Forres

Total sales were down to £33.7million from £41million and pre-tax profit declined to £9.8million from £15.6million in 2019.

Net assets grew by over 12 per cent from £49.3million to £55.4million.

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